‘SF Examiner’ Tries Tabloid Design

By: Karen Gaudette, Associated Press Writer

(AP) The San Francisco Examiner revealed its makeover Thursday, converting from a broadsheet to a more compact tabloid design splashed with color and eye-catching fonts.

It’s the latest change for the Examiner, which recently stopped publishing on weekends in favor of expanding its Friday edition with weekend sports and entertainment coverage.

“We believe this format fits the busy, get-to-the-point-but-do-it-with-flair style of San
Francisco,” executive editor Zoran Basich wrote in a letter to readers Thursday.

Garcia Media of Tampa, Fla. spent nine weeks on the redesign, said Mario Garcia, president of the firm, which also handled the recent revamp of The Wall Street Journal.

Garcia said such a design switch is “unique in the U.S. newspaper industry,” though papers in Spain and Brazil have made similar format changes.

Thursday’s cover featured a full, five-column color picture of a boy cavorting inside a federal Superfund site to illustrate “Poisoned playground,” an investigative story about the U.S. Navy property. The layout also allowed for six teasers to stories ranging from “Star Wars” to the San Francisco 49ers to Pope John Paul II.

Garcia said that going to a tabloid format was the next logical step for The Examiner after the newspaper industry’s recent switch to smaller widths.

“I think this will create a trend,” he said. “People want fewer pages to read Monday through Friday. They don’t like the feeling of having left some pages unread.”

He acknowledged that tabloids carry a reputation for sensationalism among older readers, but said the feeling isn’t shared by many younger readers, who prefer a magazine-style format.

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